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MonkeyNotes-The Killer Angels by Michael Shaara
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CHAMBERLAIN (Chapter 3 OF Section IV)

The Rebel artillery opens up

Marching with his regiment to his new position at the Union center, Chamberlain discusses yesterday’s charge of the 1 st Minnesota with Lieutenant Pitzer. Hancock led the 300 Minnesota troops against the Rebel line to buy time for Union reinforcement to move up. They saved the Union line, but had returned with only 40 men.

Pitzer has other news: Meade had wanted to withdraw, but the Generals had unanimously rejected the idea. Hancock had been especially adamant against it and had further predicted that Lee would make one last attempt at the Union line--by attacking the center. General Sykes approaches Chamberlain and makes it clear that he is considering Chamberlain as a Brigade commander. Chamberlain finds a couple chicken wings in the Generals’ camp and brings them back to his men. Back with the regiment, Tom breaks the news to his brother: Kilrain died in the hospital.

Suddenly, an artillery barrage comes down all around them and the two quickly seek cover The onslaught goes on for so long that Chamberlain repeatedly falls asleep over the course of it. The chapter ends with Chamberlain falling back into slumber as the bombardment continues.


Historical Irony:

Pitzer said conversationally, "We very nearly retreated this morning...Meade wrote an order for the whole army to withdraw...Well, hell, all the corps commanders voted to stay. I mean the only one who felt like pulling out was Meade." (p.302)


"He says they’ll come again? Hancock? Where did he say they’d come?"

Pitzer grinned, pointed, wheezed. "Why, Colonel, right about here." (p.302)


"Dreamyly" (p.303 & 304)


"Sykes stood up, extended a hand, looked him [Chamberlain] over as you look over a horse you are contemplating buying." (p.305)

"Sykes said, observing Chamberlain with the same look one gives a new rifle..." (p.305)

"Sitting with all the generals. Chamberlain could feel the massed power. It was like being near great barrels of gunpowder." (p.306)

Imagery & Sarcasm:

"He was a picturesque figure. He had not changed clothes nor washed nor shaved in a week. His blue pants were torn in several places and splotched with dried blood; his right boot was torn, his jacket was ripped at the shoulder, his sword was without a scabbard, was stuck into his belt." (p.305)


"He hobbled along painfully, sleepily, detouring around the front of a Napoleon, didn’t notice it until he opened his eyes and looked straight into the black maw, the hole of the barrel, and he blinked and came awake, momentarily, remembering Shakespeare’s line: ‘the bubble reputation in the cannon’s mouth.’ Doesn’t look like a mouth. Looks like a damn dangerous hole. Stay away from that." (p.306)

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MonkeyNotes-The Killer Angels by Michael Shaara


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